Well worth the upgrade from Vista to XP

July 4, 2007

Vista busy cursor In this post last April I asked the question “What’s so great about Vista that it’s worth crippling my PC for?

The point was that I’d bought a new up to date PC because my old Windows XP desktop was not providing satisfactory performance with today’s applications. I was expecting to see a spectacular improvement but the new PC, which came with Vista pre-installed, to my consternation did not perform any better than the old one.

I reasoned it was the change in operating system, and that if I installed XP on my new PC it would clearly outperform the machine it replaced. I did not see how that could fail to be the case, given the difference in specifications, but that had never been put to the test.

Until a few weeks ago when I said “Hasta la vista, Vista!” and installed XP.

Microsoft Windows XP SP2

Actually, I didn’t want to burn my boats by removing Vista altogether. I want to keep dipping into it from time to time so I can continue to make a contribution on Vista related issues. Neither did I necessarily need an elaborate dual boot arrangement because I wanted XP as my main day to day OS. My solution was to cannibalise my old PC for a 40Gb IDE disk which I flattened and installed in the new machine. I have installed XP Pro SP2 on that disk (it was not straightforward and I’ll do a post on that soon) and made it the default boot hard drive.

And the results have been spectacular. The performance is lightning fast. Applications just appear when you double click the icons. Email rocks. Loading Photoshop is no longer an excuse to go make a cup of tea. Use of Photoshop, video editing, the rest. Totally different from my old XP machine.

Yet I can still boot in Vista (with my Asus motherboard I press F8 during BIOS boot-up then select the Vista boot drive) and it is still given to freezes and generally ponderous performance, with lots of annoying messages leaping out at you nagging you to do something or other.

I’m really glad I followed the upgrade path from Vista to XP. I had had a good go with Vista and there is nothing it had to offer that I miss now I’m no longer using it.

My conclusion is that the sort of PCs now being sold with Vista installed make really fantastic XP machines, but maybe not so hot Vista machines.

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  1. For those with older computers and XP I’d suggest upgrading their machines if they are totally unsatisfied with the performance but are even less satisfied with Vista. Boosting RAM (to 512 MB or 1-2 GB), upgrading a hard drive to a mightier one, upgrading a video card, and maybe (due to technical reasons connected with the previously mentioned upgrades) changing a motherboard with a processor for a newer one. This may be done at home or you can get the computer to some sort of shop. You may even find a computer shop where they install all those new components when you buy those from the same shop.

    I bought my computer 3.5 years ago, but I chose every single component by myself (from magazine reviews and a very good book on all up-to-date computer parts) from the top or almost-top range to be able to run my PC for years without any upgrade. I have an 80GB hard-drive, 512 MB RAM, ASUS A7V600 motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce FX5200 videocard, AMD Athlon XP 2500+ processor. And of course I have Windows XP Home edition (so good XP is not divided into several Home editions like Vista) SP2. I still enjoy working on my computer (though I don’t do photo/video manipulations so far). If I’d upgrade anything (well, there is no need but if) that would be boosting RAM and maybe processor (but that would require changing a motherboard), plus I’d have a bigger or an external hard-drive to boost the storing capacity.

    XP rules and Vista is going to succeed only because it is being installed by default on most new computers. This is aggressive marketing. So fight it by asking to have your computers with XP installed or clean systems and buy XP (this is a pricier option as pre-installed operating systems cost practically nothing). I bought my XP separately and asked the shop to install it the first time I bought the computer (or rather bought the computer parts and had them assembled).

  2. @ Briggie
    I don’t know the particulars, but some Dell customers have been able to get XP instead of Vista. They may be reluctant to take the computer back, but you might persuade them to send you an XP (or Ubuntu Linux) install or restore CD for it.

    As Dennis said, get a techie friend to do the installation for you.

  3. ya know, i honestly thought i did my homework and made a good purchase with a 1.60Ghz Pentium Dual Core Processor, 1G ram and 120G on the hard drive – uh wrong. i even purchased the new 2007 office suite and norton 360 to “protect” my investment. OUCH. my older laptop running Windows XP, Pentium Processor, 512mb sddr and 60Ghard drive flys past this thing. i’ve had this for 4 months now, and was going to tough out it, but i’m gonna take your advice and try to return it. thanks.

  4. You’re probably in the same boat as a lot of people Briggie. Adding some RAM will probably help a lot. You might want to refer to the points made here. In general you can add RAM modules to laptops.
    Anything else would be more extreme, like changing the operating system. Really you’d need to call on a techie friend to do it for you.
    You could always try to take the laptop back to the shop and demand your money back, on the grounds the machine is not fit for purpose. Then maybe buy a Mac or Linux machine?

  5. what suggestions do you have for those of us stuck with Vista that are not as pc savvy as yourself. i too bought a new pc because my other pc just wasn’t cutting it and i feel like i took 50 steps back into the past. i have a desktop pc that is about 5 years old that is way faster than this brand new laptop. HELP!!

  6. […] July 4th, 2007 · No Comments Hastalavista tells us about a dramatic improvement in performance by upgrading a WinVista desktop to WinXP. […]

  7. […] Well worth the upgrade from Vista to XP I’m really glad I followed the upgrade path from Vista to XP. I had had a good go with Vista and there is nothing it had to offer that I miss now I’m no longer using it. Read more. […]

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